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#1 of 13 Old 11-08-2011, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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my ds 7 has challenged me to the point where i have no idea what to do and i have found no resource truly helpful.

he has a 4 yo brother and 1 yo sister.  we are having MAJOR issues of bad attitude, wanting to be in charge and in control of EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE, being violent with younger brother (snatching toys, demanding that he share with him but not doing the same in return, demanding that he play with him or leave him alone, smacking, kicking, yelling, etc....whenever he wants his own way in a situation).

we homeschool, but oldest plays baseball and is in scouts and we participate in a co-op.  he doesn't treat any other children this way - just his brother.

i've read every book you can imagine about this.

i've heard all kinds of people say "i don't tolerate _____ behavior in my kids", but i never hear any concrete advice on what they do if their kids exhibit that behavior.

time out type stuff REALLY escalates the situation.  he goes from angry to furious and basically won't comply.  i think we'd probably have to get physical with him to get him to go along with this.

talking about stuff either causes him to shut down, talk beligerantly, or fight back tears and act like nothing is wrong???!?!?!!

he keeps saying things like "i'll be nice to Noah if you stop being mad about it".  i don't know what he's trying to convey here. i've tried communicating how we express emotion and that i get sad and angry when he hurts his brother but that i never stop loving him.

i don't know ....i just feel like i've talked til i'm blue in the face and it's just.not.working.

not to mention the fact that he never wants to do school and gives me huge attitude about it every.single.time.  and says things like "why doesn't Noah have to?"  i explain Noah's abilities and the requirements of him as a 4 yo but that makes no difference.  it's like he's got this HUGE issue with fairness and control and i just don't know how to help him.

last night, dh said, anytime there is an offense (e.g. he hits his brother), we need to take away a bag of legos (his prized possession) til he's lost them all.  i said ok, what about when noah wants to play legos?  and how is it helping get to the root of the problem by taking away a toy?  is that going about it the right way or not?  i am so lost and desperate for help.

if you've read all of this thank you.  if you can offer me any tips, i would be so grateful!

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#2 of 13 Old 11-08-2011, 12:47 PM
 
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I wish I had answers.  But just wanted to let you know that you've been heard. 

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#3 of 13 Old 11-08-2011, 07:39 PM
 
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One thing that I say to my 6yo when he says "But DS2 doesn't have to!!" is that "DS2 is 3yo. When you were 3yo I did xyz with you and when DS2 is 6yo he will do xyz" and I just don't explain it any further.

 

Maybe when he starts going on about things being the same for them both, remind him that they're not the same and that he gets to do things  because he's older (like playing baseball) but because he's older he also knows more/understands more so you expect more of him.

 

I would probably just remove him from whatever they are doing if he is being too bossy/rough with his brother. Tell him that if he can't play nicely he can go somewhere else until he can. I make DS1 go into his room. And yes, this usually makes him go from angry to furious but I tell him when he calms down he can come out and he stays there until he's calm and ready to play nicely.


It's complicated.
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#4 of 13 Old 11-08-2011, 08:35 PM
 
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It is late so I cannot write in detail; I need to go to bed. However the books that really saved us were:

 

Between Parent & Child by Haim Ginott, and

How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk by Faber & Mazlish

 

I can't do them justice here but I hope you will somehow find a copy and see what their underlying philosophy is; they give very helpful and concrete examples

 

Also, "Kids Are Worth It" by Barbara Coloroso was a big help.

 

The antagonistic parent vs. kid dynamic will go nowhere except from bad to worse; you sound like you need a new paradigm. (as I did)

 

Good luck; it sounds like you are feeling so frustrated.

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#5 of 13 Old 11-08-2011, 09:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackson'smama View Post
  it's like he's got this HUGE issue with fairness and control and i just don't know how to help him.

 

I'm in the middle of reading "Your Seven Year Old" because I've got a seven year old who's also a bit challenging. Apparently, this obsession with fairness and control is very typical of the age.

 

I'd recommend several books:

1. How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen.. and Listen So Your Children Will Talk by Faber & Mazlish. One of the things they recommend is less talk. So instead of carefully explaining why the 4 year old doesn't need to do school work, say "You're 7. 7 year olds need to do school work. 4 year olds don't." and then STOP. When we talk until we're "blue in the face" we're not really talking, we're lecturing. Not many people listen well when being lectured to, and yet it's so easy to fall into the trap.

 

2. Kids, Parents & Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka -- I'd probably start with this one, since it sounds like you've got some pretty big power struggles going on.

 

3. The Explosive Child by Ross Greene

 

4. Playful Parenting by Larry Cohen -- you might be able to play out some of his frustrations and anger in ways that talking won't help. Since he doesn't like to talk about emotions, this might help him. Our son likes to play sports with us (in the winter it's basketball with a nerf ball in the kitchen, soccer with a balloon in the living room). Part of this play is arguing (often loudly) about calls. This helps ds get some of his aggression out in socially acceptable ways.

 

Instead of taking away legos, how about setting up a reward system?  I'm not a huge fan of a reward system, but if you're going to use behaviorist methods (and sometimes they do work!), I'd much rather reinforce positive behavior than punish negative behavior. A lot of families use something like a Marble Jar -- start with a small jar and one goal. Every time he does his school work without too much complaint, he gets a marble. When the jar is full, then he gets a 'reward'. I'd highly recommend that the reward is something fun that he does with one of you, not something material that he gets. Maybe he gets to choose a game to play. Maybe you or dh plays basketball with him for 20 minutes. This connection time is key to reforming a relationship.  Start small with the rewards and make it so that he can earn a reward quickly in the first few days.

 

The second thing is: How much one-on-one time does he get with either you or dad? He's the oldest of 3. 1 year olds are demanding. 4 year olds can be challenging. When's his time to get attention? That's one of the reasons I love Playful Parenting -- it advocates spending time every day connecting with your child. Maybe he can stay up 30 minutes after his brother and sister go to bed. Maybe he can spend some one-on-one time with you during nap time. The more you can fill his cup of attention, the more resilient and less antagonistic he will be.

 

Sleep: Does he get enough? Tired kids are cranky and non-compliant kids.

 

For hitting, screaming and other anti-social behavior, I'd send him to his room. "It looks like you need a break. When you've got yourself under control, you can come back." Our 7 year old is pretty volatile, and she gets sent to her room a lot still. Just today she had a fit about some minor incident on the school bus (she wanted to sit one row behind where her brother (the current bus monitor) told her to sit). She came home screaming and really angry. She went to her room (OK, after sitting on the steps screaming for a bit and waking me up from my nap.)

 

Also, teach him some deep breathing techniques, yoga or some other skills to calm himself down at a time when he's not upset. Make it part of your PE curriculum, for example.
 

 

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#6 of 13 Old 11-09-2011, 05:46 AM
 
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My eldest can be like that...but things are getting better.  One thing that really really helps a lot is that I made these tickets (index cards with a magnet on the back) on the fridge which are good for 20 minutes Mom time.  Each kid has one--and they can give it to me, and pretty much unless I'm cooking something that will burn or feeding the baby, they get 20 minutes totally devoted time.  No computers.  No TV.  No siblings.  They get to choose the activity--and they know they have my total complete focus.  The other kids (other than the baby) know that this is that one kid's special time and to play elsewhere.  They all cherish their special time--and it seems to be the most important for DS1.... not only for the one on one time, but it's also when he tells me what's bugging him, going on in his day, etc.

 

I also really took a lot from Ross Greene's work (which a bunch is available online for free) in that "Kids do as well as they can."  He's coping as best as he can, and I just need to help him cope better.  We do lots of do-overs in our house.  We give opportunities to "earn back" toys or other things that were taken away.  I've found that this seems to work better than a more strict approach.  In the past, if they were fighting over Legos, the legos would be gone for a day.  Period.  Now, they're taken away--and the kids have the option of thinking up a solution on how they can play with them fairly.  If they do it, they get another chance.  

 

I do think a need for control is pretty normal at this age, however.  Have you read any of Michael Gurian(?)"s work?


Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#7 of 13 Old 11-09-2011, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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whew!  thanks for the replies. 

ok, i've read some of the books recommended, but not all.  definitely need to go back over some stuff.  unfortunately, you know the thing with parenting - you never really feel like you can take the time to "read and get one step ahead" b/c there's always something going on!

it's definitely hard finding one on one time during the day.  my kids have never been nappers so even my 13 month old doesn't reliably nap and if she does it's while nursing on my lap.  i did score some points with ds today though b/c i managed to work on lego sorting while nursing her to sleep while he built a creation of his own design.  usually that's impossible b/c she just can't focus on nursing/sleep - she's trying to put her hands into whatever i'm working on.

when dh is off in the evenings, he usually has boys with dad time (much to 13 month old daughter's dissatisfaction!) while i finish up dinner prep.  and one night per week, he participates in cub scouting with oldest.  we've added one night per week for him to spend with middle ds as well.  with having to get in bed at a decent hour, i just feel like we run out of time constantly.  on weekends, there is more time available for one-on-one with dh (or boys with dh - they love their sister but she really cramps their style!).  one-on-one with me usually involves lego play but he's really getting to the stage where he wants to do things that he and dh both engage in really well and i tend to feel lost (this past weekend for example, the set fires in the campfire circle in our yard using a magnifying glass, they tracked each other in the field and woods using actual search and rescue tracking techniques, they go rappelling (the kiddie version)...stuff that's out of my element.

i hate subscribing to the boy vs. girl stuff to do, but it's hard to draw him in to my interests and i haven't quite got the skill to delve fully into his right now. 

 

i promised myself today would be a good day and so far it has been.  we've been pretty much lego-ing it nonstop and for now, i gotta ignore the voices telling me we should be doing something more studious than this.  i got some advice yesterday about getting the emotional stuff fixed and the school will be much easier so i need to do what works right now.  we've had limited problems today and the problems that arose i was able to handle with calmness and occasional humor.  it seemed to work well. 

 

i think maybe it is a connection thing that he's not feeling right now (on top of all that is developmental).  and maybe if i can fix the connection problem, the developmental will become easier to handle.

 

thanks for your replies.  i welcome more advice!

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#8 of 13 Old 11-11-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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OP, I just posted a PCIT method that has been a lifesaver for us.  If you are strong, neutral, and consistent it WILL work.  I can't imagine doing this with an explosive or aggressive child, but removal of privileges will eventually make your DS see that you are serious.  Stay strong, Mama!!

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1335553/how-do-you-get-your-kids-to-appreciate-respect-what-they-have


An incredibly thankful SAH Mommy to 3 fiendishly enchanting girls 11/04,10/05, & 12/06. 
 
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#9 of 13 Old 11-11-2011, 11:58 AM
 
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I had read all the books that are usually recommended on mothering.com.  I really enjoyed them but I didn't find anything was really giving a PLAN of action.  My daughter is 4 and in the last year she has been having more and more violent temper tantrums and was acting more and more defiant.  When she was behaving she was happy and joyful.  Anyways finally we had had enough and went to a child psychologist who has been AMAZING!!  We have had a HUGE turn around.  Our psychologist had as read "The Incredible Years" - parenting program by Carolyn Webster-Stratton.  It is a step by step program for defiant/ aggressive children.  The first step is one on one time every day... aim for 20 minutes.  This is the foundation of the program.  While you do this one on one time your child has to be your soul focus and basically you narrate what they are doing and act like whatever they do is truly amazing.  The book talks about logical/ natural consequences, limit setting, the use of praise and rewards etc...  I would highly recommend it.

 

For us seeing the psychologist has mostly helped to give us confidence.  I had read so many books and different opinions I was always second guessing myself and my approach.  Did DD need more hugs and sympathy when she was upset or did I need to ignore the tantrums etc.  Now that DH and I have an agreed upon course of action for situations, we now stick to our guns.  

 

We have had a HUGE HUGE turnaround in DD in the last 6 weeks.  She is happier, better regulated and is rarely defiant.  She is still our spunky little girl but the bad behaviour is lessening each week.  Also I feel in control now.

 

I think we got really lucky with our psychologist.  She works at a children's group (for kids with autism, learning disabilities, developmental delays etc).  She has actually taught the Incredible Year's Program.

 

If you can afford it (or have insurance for it which we did) I might try seeing a psychologist.  It might just take a few visits to at least give you some tools for dealing with the behaviours.  Check out the book as well.


Me: Shannon (33) mom to DD Everly born May 9, 2007 and Maisie born May 26
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#10 of 13 Old 11-12-2011, 03:55 PM
 
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Shannie, that is awesome!!!  That is what I have loved about PCIT.  The discipline part is the second half of the program.  The first half of the program they teach you how to praise, use reflection, exaggerate good behaviors, etc....  It felt so silly to sit with my DD and comment on every single move she made while drawing, or playing with dolls, or legos, etc.  But the purpose is the really OVER use those skills in PCIT so in the real world it's in the back of your head and you use them appropriately.  Then comes the discipline portion and it is working wonders in our home!!! :D


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#11 of 13 Old 11-13-2011, 11:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCFD View Post

Shannie, that is awesome!!!  That is what I have loved about PCIT.  The discipline part is the second half of the program.  The first half of the program they teach you how to praise, use reflection, exaggerate good behaviors, etc....  It felt so silly to sit with my DD and comment on every single move she made while drawing, or playing with dolls, or legos, etc.  But the purpose is the really OVER use those skills in PCIT so in the real world it's in the back of your head and you use them appropriately.  Then comes the discipline portion and it is working wonders in our home!!! :D


What you are describing is exactly what our psychologist has us doing... commenting on every single move.  Definitely feel silly doing it but you do get used to is.  It sounds like we are doing PCIT as well. ;)

 

Also like you the first half was all about building the connection and not focusing on the discipline.  Right now we are working on ignoring bad behaviours (ones that can be ignored).  It is amazing how much I have found we interact with our daughter when she is doing undesirable things.  I think what helps with this is that we are giving her so much positive attention the rest of the time we aren't feeling guilty if we have to ignore some behaviours.

 

We went down the discipline path of trying to be as gentle as possible and using Alfie Kohn's methods.  I am sure it works wonderfully for some children but things were just getting worse and worse with her behaviour.  This method has just been magic really.  My daughter is so much happier, which makes me feel happier... which makes her feel happier. ;)  

 

 


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#12 of 13 Old 11-14-2011, 07:33 PM
 
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What you are describing is exactly what our psychologist has us doing... commenting on every single move.  Definitely feel silly doing it but you do get used to is.  It sounds like we are doing PCIT as well. ;)

 

Also like you the first half was all about building the connection and not focusing on the discipline.  Right now we are working on ignoring bad behaviours (ones that can be ignored).  It is amazing how much I have found we interact with our daughter when she is doing undesirable things.  I think what helps with this is that we are giving her so much positive attention the rest of the time we aren't feeling guilty if we have to ignore some behaviours.

 

We went down the discipline path of trying to be as gentle as possible and using Alfie Kohn's methods.  I am sure it works wonderfully for some children but things were just getting worse and worse with her behaviour.  This method has just been magic really.  My daughter is so much happier, which makes me feel happier... which makes her feel happier. ;)  

 

 


YES! I bet if you ask about PCIT you will find that is the technique they are using!  There was absolutely NO discipline involved for about 4 1/2 months.  I finally told the therapist, "I feel really, incredibly silly commenting on every move she makes!" and the therapist said, "NO NO NO!!  We want you to do that because it makes it easier for you when you are not in PCIT with us!"  Then I laughed and thought that most of this is what we do anyway (i.e. DD1, I really like how you helped DD3 up when she fell.  That was very kind of you.)  Lots of praise without the sappy, "Oh, what a good girl you are!"  BLAH!  We always say that there are no bad children....just children who are bad listeners or make bad choices.  ;)

 

My oldest DD has a big time habit of using a little baby voice.  Some of it is when she is playing with baby dolls or making lego people talk to each other, but they had me IGNORE that voice and then wait until she used her big girl voice to say, "I really like it when you use your big girl voice with Mommy.  It helps me to understand you better."  So, all the attention was off the negative.  Have you ever heard of a book called "Mom, Jason's Breathing On Me!"  It's about sibling fights, but there are so many things the author talks about using humor that teaches you to ignore that bad behavior.  It's a witty, good read!!  http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Jasons-Breathing-Me-Bickering/dp/0345460928/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321327917&sr=8-1


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#13 of 13 Old 12-25-2011, 07:01 PM
 
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Another excellent book I didn't see mentioned on this thread is "The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child: With No Pills, No Therapy, No Contest of Wills." The author, Dr. Alan Kazdin uses research-based, positive reinforcement methods he developed at Yale's Parenting Center. This book is very detailed as to what works, and why, and contains a plan. It also works in "regular" parenting situations, so if you have more than one child, and varying issues, you're using the same approach for all. It also comes with a DVD, which is great way to preview his ideas.

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